Impact Awards 2023: Walgreens, DEI

The pharmacy retail giant took a staple product and made it more inclusive, earning the first Impact Award in the DEI category.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
Greg Sleter profile picture

Retailers, product suppliers and service providers across the private label industry work on a daily basis to provide consumers quality products that offer great value and enhance their lives. But many companies go above and beyond, and take steps daily to protect the environment, enhance diversity programs, implement unique workforce initiatives, support needed community programs and more.

To honor the work of companies across our industry, Store Brands’ 2022 Impact Awards features several leading organizations that throughout the year have taken steps to support their customers and communities beyond the walls of their stores or manufacturing facilities.

The following profiles showcase the work of companies in several important categories: Sustainability and Resource Conservation; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Ethical Sourcing and Supply Chain Transparency; Workforce Development and Employee Support; Community Service and Local Impact; Educational Support and Learning Advancement; Food Security, Safety and Nutritional Leadership; and Philanthropic Innovation and Corporate Giving Initiatives.

Walgreens bandage

Company: Walgreens


Impact Award: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion


As the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) continues to gain more attention from retailers and suppliers, the steps companies take to address this issue vary. One unique approach was taken by Walgreens in the bandages category.

While this long-standing product segment may not initially be top of mind when thinking about DEI issues, Walgreens identified an opportunity to expand its product assortment to address what was viewed as a glaring unmet need, especially for shoppers with darker skin tones. In an effort to provide value and convenience while making shoppers feel included, Walgreens introduced a line of Flexible Fabric Bandages available in three shades: light, medium and dark.

Walgreens bandage

The drug store chain that  operates more than 8,800 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands selected the most popular bandage, the Flexible Fabric Bandage, to carry all three colors and ensure this solution was of the highest quality.

Historically, the bandage marketplace has primarily offered tan colored bandages and focused product innovation on usage rather than color. Over the years, product lines have evolved to include fun character bandages for kids.

Throughout this evolution, and in talking with customers and monitoring trends, Walgreens realized there was an opportunity to develop products in the category for people with darker skin tones.

Positive customer feedback and community support, such as online reviews saying, “I’ve never had a bandage match my skin so closely,” demonstrate how the new bandage colors were important to Walgreens shoppers. Walgreens said it will continue to evolve its offerings to meet customer needs and ensure that they are readily available and accessible to all.